Whatever Happened to Erik Buell?

The maverick motorcycle designer returns to his racing roots

By Aaron Frank, Photography by Buell, Rich Chenet

There was plenty of speculation surrounding Erik Buell's future after Harley-Davidson pulled the plug on his eponymous motorcycle company. Would he assimilate into the Borg, and assume some product-development position at Harley-Davidson? Would he defect to a competitor, maybe developing a New American Sportbike under the Victory banner? Perhaps he'd withdraw from motorcycling completely, and hole up in his Mukwonago barn to finally finish restoring that old Studebaker Hawk.

It turned out to be none of the above. Less than six weeks after H-D officially "discontinued" the Buell brand, Erik Buell announced the formation of Erik Buell Racing, a new company dedicated to supporting Buell's vast privateer racing tribe. The company will build and sell turnkey, race-only Buell 1125 motorcycles under license from Harley-Davidson. Two versions will be available, either in 135-horse Daytona Sportbike spec or 175-bhp American Superbike spec. In addition to complete bikes, the firm will also offer extensive race preparation services, including engine building, dyno tuning, chassis development and even lab durability testing. They'll also offer racers and trackday enthusiasts an impressive array of chassis and powertrain components for the Buell XB, XBRR and 1125 motorcycles-essentially the entire existing performance catalog, plus new components under development. See the full list of parts and services at www.erikbuellracing.com.

Erik Buell Racing will operate from the existing facility on Buell Drive in East Troy, Wisconsin, and will retain a number of workers previously employed by the Buell Motorcycle Company. It's a silver lining on a sad situation, and for Erik Buell, a return to his roots. Buell, of course, was a successful AMA privateer roadracer in the '70s and early '80s, and has always had a strong and heartfelt connection with the grassroots roadracing community. No doubt he's very pleased now to make that loyal community his priority.

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